Many of us who grew up in the 80’s and 90’s have fond memories of the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, in which the reader is the main character, and makes choices to guide the story. The books were updated and re-published in the early 2000’s. Around that time, I found myself teaching a full-time gifted class, and in need of new ways to challenge my students, and this project was born, originally on paper.
I have explored this type of storytelling with my students in various formats over the years, but none have had the interactivity and versatility of Buncee.
I introduce this project by having my students watch a Choose Your Own Adventure movie, allowing them to vote on the choices and follow a few paths to see how their choices affect the story. I also make sure to have several books available for them to explore, to get a feel for the format. After the introduction, the true adventure begins, as most things do, with a plan. Organization is key for this project! I recommend that my students use boxes and arrows to plan their story and keep it organized. The initial box sets up the story, which then branches off into two (or more) paths. Those paths continue to branch off until they reach an ending. I require my students to have at least 4 unique endings, but they may have more if they choose.
Once a plan is in place, creation begins! Each new path of the story begins on a new Buncee. This is important when it comes to adding the links. The most challenging elements are that the story must be written in 2nd person and present tense, formats not commonly used. Once all of the Buncees are created, students add links to make the story interactive. Students can turn any text box or sticker into a link. Some opt for a clean approach with common buttons, while others personalize each to the specific point in the story. To create a link, copy the share code from the destination Buncee and attach it to the link. When sharing their story, students only need to share their first slide, as their links will bring the reader where they choose to go.
Click to start the stories below, or click here to open a Buncee Board with more stories!
This project creates a unique buzz. My students invariably want to share their stories, with each other and with me, at all steps in the process. They even tell their parents about it, which anyone who teaches middle schoolers knows doesn’t happen often. Even students who normally need prodding just to write a paragraph open up to this project and work without hesitation. My current students viewed it as more of a game, saying to one another, “I want to play yours! Do you want to try mine?” Upon hearing about it, some kindergarten teachers invited my students to share their stories, and their students loved being able to control the narrative! My students were curious about the outcome, asking one classmate, “Did they get mauled by the bear?” To which she enthusiastically replied, “Not the first time, but the teacher let them do it again, and they did that time!” Slightly morbid, but definitely memorable. When one project grabs the attention of sixth graders, kindergarteners, and teachers across the nation (at least according to the retweets), it must be something special.